Vic Tanner Davy, Liberate’s CEO, has been honoured in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Birthday Honours for his services to diversity and inclusion in the Channel Islands.
When I was tapped on the shoulder at the march for equal marriage in June 2014 and asked by Liberate Guernsey whether I would start up Liberate in Jersey, I had no idea what a journey I was about to go on. I have met some inspiring, diverse and colourful Islanders on that journey, including my (now) wife, Paddy, who was one of the founding board members of Liberate, and Christian May, who was our first Chair and who is still a board member and CI Pride Director.
I am incredibly proud of what the charity has achieved in terms of our work with Government on same sex marriage law, discrimination legislation, the pathway to healthcare for transgender and non-binary Islanders, leading the ‘Access the Island’ part of the disability strategy, being part of awareness campaigns, consultations and scrutiny including, most recently, presenting the case for better accessibility in the new hospital plans. I am also proud of the work we have done in the community from all the training and talks we have delivered to organisations and groups, to our Accès and DIFERA accreditations schemes, to our counselling service, including our support for people living with HIV, to our partnership with BLM Jersey, to our involvement in diversity panels, to delivering Channel Islands Pride since 2015. I really want to thank everybody (and there have been a lot of people!) who has been part of Liberate’s work since 2014.
In a nutshell, my role and responsibility is to be the voice in the room that reminds people that not everyone in Jersey has the privilege of being accepted for who they are wherever they go. Mostly that reminder has been welcome, but for some people it feels uncomfortable or too difficult, which is where Liberate’s work begins in educating, exploring and discussing difference. Over the last 8 years, we have done that as a charity and conversations in workplaces, schools and homes that were not being had when we started are now much more common. So, for me, the honour also recognises that Jersey is on a path towards being an Island that embraces all its citizens.
I am so lucky to work alongside all my Liberate colleagues, past and present, in Jersey and Guernsey and I am hugely privileged to support the clients we work with at times when they are often at their most vulnerable because an incident has happened to them or they are in the process of working out a new identity. These wonderful people teach me new ways of seeing the world every day. Receiving an honour from the Queen for work that I am already honoured to do is the icing on a rainbow-coloured cake!